Must have plugin.

Hello! Over recent years, we’ve had the pleasure of featuring a series of interviews on this blog, spotlighting awesome individuals from the WordPress community and beyond. If you haven’t had the chance to explore these conversations yet, we invite you to browse the archive here.

With this in mind, we’ve had the idea of doing a few roundups featuring some of the most popular questions from these interviews and the insightful answers people had for them.

In this inaugural roundup, we’ve selected a particularly intriguing question that we believe will pique your interest: “What’s your favorite/must-have WordPress plugin and why?” 😍 This question, frequently asked in our interviews, stems from a genuine curiosity to delve deeper into our community’s preferences and understand the needs of its members.

Given that there are tens of thousands of WordPress plugins on the market, knowing everyone’s number-one choices is intriguing. Hoping you will find this topic as interesting as we do, we put together all the answers to this question in one single post.

Before we show you the individual opinions, you might want to check out the summary table that we’ve put together based on the answers we got. As you’ll see, there’s one clear leader here:

Plugin Mentions What it does Active installs Rating
Yoast SEO 6 Most popular SEO plugin over 5 million 96%
WooCommerce 1 Turns your site into an online store over 5 million 90%
BlogVault 1 Backs up your website’s content 100,000 88%
Advanced Custom Fields 1 Framework for working with custom fields over 2 million 96%
Query Monitor 1 Offers debugging solutions for developers 200,000 98%
Plugin Notes 1 Lets you add notes about your installed plugins 8,000 100%
Gravity Forms 1 Advanced form builder N/A (premium plugin) N/A (premium plugin)
ShortPixel 1 Optimizes your images 300,000 90%
Gutenberg 1 The cutting-edge version of the block editor 300,000 42%
Jetpack 1 Multi-tool for security, speed, marketing, and more over 4 million 76%
Masteriyo 1 A learning management system 2,000 94%
WP Rocket 1 Caching plugin N/A (premium plugin) N/A (premium plugin)
Contextual Related Posts 1 Displays a list of related posts 70,000 96%
Two Factor 1 Enables two-factor authentication 70,000 96%
NitroPack 1 Optimizes your website’s speed 100,000 88%
BBQ Firewall 1 A custom firewall 100,000 98%
Blackhole for Bad Bots 1 Stops bad bots from accessing your site 30,000 98%

Here are our community’s favorite WordPress plugins, accompanied by explanations of how these tools prove beneficial to their businesses:

What’s your favorite/must-have WordPress plugin and why?

The must-have WordPress plugin is WooCommerce. This is the primary way to transform a website into a store. This potentiates a business.

I manage a fair few different sites. A bunch of them have different plugin combinations but the one plugin that never changes is BlogVault.

There are plenty of other backup solutions on the market but I never have to worry about backups slowing down my site or taking ages to run – they’re incremental and they run on BlogVault servers.

There’s also a dashboard so I can manage all my sites from one location. Staging site creation, firewall, malware scanning, and an activity log.

One particularly neat feature is that I can test backups easily.

Yoast SEO. This needs no explanations.

Yoast is one of the plugins I always install and rely on. It’s a must-have plugin, and they make it easy to optimize your content for search visibility. Besides the great product — both the free and premium versions are feature-packed — I like and support their approach on pushing WordPress PHP versions always to the latest stable version. An up-to-date website can prevent users from so many headaches….

I have two favorite plugins, both are my own creation: BBQ and Blackhole for Bad Bots. I am heavy into security, and these two plugins do an excellent job of providing a lightweight super-fast firewall and honeypot-style trap to stop bad bots.

Advanced Custom Fields. It makes websites so much more user-friendly for clients. If I could name my first child Advanced Custom Fields, I would.

It’s hard to pair it down to one! I’ll say my go-to for development is Query Monitor and my go-to for site management is Plugin Notes.

I’ve always been, and continue to be, a huge fan of Yoast SEO. A site should be as optimized as possible and Yoast SEO is an amazing, forward-thinking tool that puts a lot of power in the hands of website managers.

I do have favorite plugins across many categories, but I do not have a single plugin which is a must-have for all WordPress sites.

Yoast SEO is good to have on any public sites that you care to show up in search engines, as well as share links on social media.

For contact forms, Gravity Forms has been my favorite plugin for more than a decade.

It’s got to be an image compression plugin, Shortpixel is a favourite with Atomic Smash! It makes a huge difference to site speed. As well as quicker load times, it also automatically serves up the correct image format (jpg/webp/avif) based on browser support.

I really like using the Gutenberg plugin as love running the latest there. That one feels an easy one though, if not that then honestly Jetpack probably runs on most of my sites as it just works for me every single time – that to me is the sign of a great plugin.

For a content creator, it’s an excellent topic for a piece of content. I could write a whole article on this. Haha.

For now, I’ll name two plugins – one my current favorite and one must-have plugin.

My favorite plugin now is Masteriyo, a WordPress LMS plugin to build and sell online courses. It’s a product of ThemeGrill, where I currently work. My first impression of the plugin was that it’s straightforward and anyone can use it confidently.

Many plugins in WordPress offer great features, but they turn me off instantly due to poorly designed user interface, lots of ads, and lazy speed. Masteriyo solves all of those problems with React JS integration and clean design.

We’re currently using the plugin to power our employee training site. We have built online courses for onboarding new team members, training them about our products, and answering the most asked questions.

Now, let me share my must-have plugin; it’s Yoast SEO. An SEO plugin is essential for every content creator, and Yoast has been my favorite since the beginning. It offers simple yet best features to optimize WordPress sites. It’s straightforward and not stuffed with too many features. That’s what I like most about this plugin.

There are now great alternatives to Yoast, like Rank Math, All in One SEO, and SEOPress. In fact, we’re using Rank Math on some of our websites. But Yoast SEO is still my personal favorite as I believe it has done everything just right, nothing more and nothing less. My personal opinion, though.

That’s a tough question, because there are so many great plugins out there for WordPress! If I had to choose just one, I would say WP Rocket is my must-have plugin. It’s an incredibly powerful optimization plugin that I use on just about every website.

Yoast, we use it every single day at Content Journey. AND the pro version. We upgrade each of our clients, the features they get in pro make it worth it for the upgrade.

My current favorite is Contextual Related Posts. Here’s why:

We were doing a little research to learn what features are standard on blogs. So we reviewed a bunch of the top marketing blogs and wrote a report showing which features were the most popular. […] I realized that our own blog was missing something. 79% of blogs show related articles…but ours did not. So we quickly did some research, found the Contextual plugin, and added it.

Two Factor. Adding two-factor authentication is probably the best thing you can do for site security and this is a great solution.

Security on WordPress is a much-discussed topic, but it doesn’t have to be complex – for example, I steer away from the “all in one” security plugins and stick to a number of simple plugins as well as a robust process (enforcing 2FA for all site users, for example).

There are so many, but one that immediately comes to mind is NitroPack. It’s a simple solution for improving WordPress performance. Any website could benefit from something like this or similar.

This concludes our community roundup on favorite WordPress plugins. Are any of the mentioned plugins part of your toolkit? Alternatively, if you have a favorite plugin that you’d like to share, we welcome your input in the comments section. We’re eager to hear your perspectives and insights on this topic.

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